The following reports on the schools of Bullitt County in 1911 and 1913 were written by its superintendent, Ora L. Roby, and appeared in the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky on pages 31-32 of the 1911 report, and pages 57-58 of the 1913 report. The picture of Mr. Roby appeared between pages 34-35 of the 1911 report.
BULLITT COUNTY (1911 REPORT)
Bullitt county has the unique distinction of having had three county Superintendents sworn into office within the past eighteen months, in fact this office has been considered the hoodoo office by "the knowing ones," and "the careful ones" have advised me to beware.
Now (if you happen to be a lady) you may want to know how the above happened. First, the young lady became ill and had to give up the work, then a very scholarly gentleman was appointed who, almost from the first duties, has been suffering from that dreaded disease - tuberculosis; and the third came into office just one month ago, which naturally handicaps me in giving a complete report of the school conditions that now exist in this county.
As a teacher, however, I have noticed in the past two years a sentiment growing in favor of public education, and few citizens of this county object to paying the school tax. Some four or five new school houses have been built; and 90 per cent, of the entire number of houses have been repaired. The teaching force is composed mainly of young ladies and gentlemen having had some normal training, and who are among the very best and most progressive of our citizens.
While I am too young to suggest any change in the new school law, if our Legislature would give us a strong compulsory school law, it would do more to advance our State, to improve schools, and to make better citizens, than anything that has been written concerning schools within the past two years.
The County Board of Education, at a cost of $550.00, recently consolidated our County High School with the High School at this place, and we look forward to a very successful school year, as eighteen applicants of rural schools have received diplomas, all of whom we trust will take advantage of the High School.
We have thirty-seven districts, three graded schools and four colored in our county, and hope to be able to redistrict the entire county the coming year.
I trust the day is not far distant when the people of Kentucky will enjoy a completed school system and that our State may rank among the first in the Union from an educational standpoint
ORA L. ROBY,
BULLITT COUNTY (1913 REPORT)
The Bullitt County Board of Education employed a supervisor last year whose duty it was to report children not attending school, assisting teachers in the grading of schools, to supply as teacher in case of sickness, etc. Finding his services so helpful in improving the schools and attendance, he was employed again for the coming year.
The Course of Study being complicated and somewhat hard to understand, few of our teachers were making any effort at grading the school, so last year the board simplified the course to a great extent and had that printed, asking the teachers to follow it closely, which most of them did, thereby accomplishing very gratifying results.
The compulsory school law, I think, is a step in the right direction, but we find it defective, In that there is no jail sentence attached. Most of the people failing to send children to school are parents too poor to pay a fine and no property on which to make it, but in this county the attendance increased 75 per cent the past term.
In the last two years we have succeeded in building five new school houses, most of them being one-room 24x32 ft, at a cost of from $550 to $700 each. We now have under construction a two-room building with hall between, built on a modern plan, to cost near $1,400, and propose another building to be finished in two months, thus making most of the houses new or nearly so, as about 75 per cent of them have been repaired and painted. In most instances the schools are very well equipped with blackboard, space, seats, charts, maps and globes, though we have few libraries in the county, but now that the houses are owned and cared for by the board of education, small libraries are being started from money made from box and pie socials and other entertainments.
We feel that the children are deriving a great good from monthly examinations printed and sent out by the county board for the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
No attempt has been made at consolidation and transportation in this county, but last year it was proposed in a section of the county where three schools, it seems, could have been successfully consolidated. While some favored it, most of the people opposed and criticised severely, and until the power is given the county to pay the expense of transportation it will continue to meet with opposition in this county.
Our salary schedule, we feel, is very liberal, with a minimum of $35 per month for a third class teacher in a third class school and a maximum of $55 per month for a teacher holding a first class certificate in a first class school with a chance to make an increase on attendance of 40, 50 and 60 per cent at $3, $10 and $15 respectively, per month. Our schedule for the coming year has not been determined. The county board decided they needed better service from their teachers and passed a ruling requiring all teachers to hold a first class certificate or its equivalent.
Our school fair, held in September, was the greatest day in the history of Bullitt County. More than a thousand school children marched in the parade. The floats of the different schools were beautiful. The exhibits in manual training, domestic science and art were splenlid and the contests interesting and entertaining. The boys' corn club was not held until November.
The school supervisor is now preparing a catalog of the school fair for this year, and all over Bullitt County the people are awakening to the needs of an education and many are striving earnestly for its advancement.
ORA L. ROBY,
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